Review Summary: Practically flawless, Coheed and Cambria's sophomore album matches the brilliance of their debut, adding elements of progressive rock into the mix and pulling it off in style.
To put it simply, nobody can deny the impact that Coheed and Cambria have had on the music scene since their formation back in 2000. To date, the band have released eight studio albums, with the majority being well received by critics and fans alike. However, it has to be said that Claudio Sanchez and co. were at their best earlier in their career. Their debut, Second Stage Turbine Blade, melded together elements of emo, alternative rock and post hardcore, a formula which proved to be perfect. Along with Sanchez' unique vocal talents and the conceptual nature of his lyrics, Second Stage Turbine Blade turned out to be a phenomenal release, with many considering it a classic in it's own right. Yet the band's sophomore effort, In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3, not only continued to use the formulae present on SSTB but also added in certain progressive rock elements. Consequently, IKSOSE: 3 was more intricate, more daring and more ambitious than it's predecessor. After the introductory track (featuring a musical theme present on each of the albums forming the saga), the listener is presented with the first major highlight of the album in the form of the title track. Immediately noticeable and primarily the thing which separates IKSOSE:3 from SSTB are the song lengths/structures. They are much more complex, incorporating more than just typical verse-chorus-verse formats. As the title track develops, it becomes apparent that, in a musical sense, the band are in their element. The guitars are varied and interesting, Sanchez' vocals are superb and the rhythm section of both bass and drums, whilst not being overtly technical, provide a solid backbone for the rest of the band to develop their ideas upon.
Despite being more inventive and grandiose, the songs on IKSOSE: 3 retain a definitive element of catchiness, particularly in the choruses. A Favor House Atlantic, amongst others, is demonstrative of this. In terms of album highlights, the first half of the album definitely has the more memorable tracks - Three Evils, The Crowing and the title track are all contenders for best tracks on the album but the quality and consistency overall never really wavers all that much. The Velourium Camper trilogy, whilst being a little pretentious and over the top in it's effort to convey a darker atmosphere, is still remarkably quirky and interesting. Album closer The Light In the Glass is nothing short of an absolute epic, which builds in momentum wonderfully towards an explosively emotional climax.
There are many people who are critical of IKSOSE: 3, mostly concerning the musicianship of certain members of the band. To a point, the drumming throughout the album is pretty basic (as is the bass playing) but what has to be noted is that nothing sounds out of place. From a virtuosity aspect, it is the guitar work of Sanchez and Stever which sticks out as the most impressive thing about the album. That said, the band have great chemistry and there are plenty of killer hooks and well penned riffs throughout the album. In conclusion, IKSOSE: 3 is what I'd consider a modern alternative rock classic. It amalgamates the emo and post hardcore influences found on the band's debut with a few progressive rock elements, topping everything off with a fabulous vocal performance from Sanchez. Most of you I know are likely to have already heard this - but if you haven't, I implore you to give this a go. Along with SSTB, this album is near flawless and a great example of the magic and brilliance Coheed and Cambria could create with their music.
In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
The Light and the Glass